Saturday, November 28, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Very Thankful Thanksgiving

Tonight I get to sit on my couch and blog! Wow! This is a first - we finally have internet we are paying for and that covers our whole house!! We were borrowing internet from somewhere (some unsecure network nearby) - and we only get it in the front school room. So woohoo! We are back in the present with internet!!

Today we had a great day, put up the tree, had a nice relaxing breakfast after sleeping in, and just worked around the house all day - it is so good to really get things done around here and more things put away!

We sat down this evening as a family and talked about the nativity together - the kids talked about each piece and why it was important and then we set it all up. They have been enjoying the Little People one all day. AG sits and plays with all of them - pretending. it is so sweet to see her grow up like that.

Robert and I were talking about how grateful we are to have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving and Christmas. We could have still been on the path of unemployment like so many others we know. Regardless of the fact that we are employed, this Christmas will be very precious as we reflect on this past year and especially the last 9 months. It has been a great year! And we are thankful!

So here is a recap of our Thanksgiving..... (more pics on flickr)

We woke up early - what is new? and the kids snuggled up on the couch to watch the Macy's Day parade! They loved all of it! J even took pics of the floats on the tv - not sure about that - but otherwise it was a fun morning.

We planned to head to Brian & Lisa's home for Thanksgiving supper - so we made a pie and some sweet potatoes and head off for some fun with the cousins and Grandparents.

Here are Robert & Brian's Grandparents.

Here is C1 and PJ playing together - rarely were they seen without lightsabers.

Here is J and C1 - notice the costume - clone trooper! Boy these boys love Star Wars!

Here are the younger boys - 2 peas in a pod if you ask me! But sweet boys!!

Here is C1 - he contributed to Thanksgiving supper by making toast - he had it ready when we got there - then he cut it up, put some jam on it and had it ready at dinner time! The kids were thrilled!! They ate that while we put the final touches on the meal ready to serve - it was perfect!

Here are AG and C2 - playing kitchen - these two played so well together - it was very sweet!!

Here is our sweet niece - she decided she needed to jazz up her outfit and so she put every string of beads she owns around her neck - so sweet to watch her play!

Here is AG and her Daddy!

Here is our sweet little girl -

2 wonderfully smelling Apple Pies

A perfectly deep fried turkey - it was delightful!

A Beautiful Table

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Quiet Sunday

It is Sunday afternoon and my home is so quiet it is almost odd! But nice.

We have had a great weekend and very productive too - I am a little worried that the great is based on the level of productivity - but oh well! We did not have any plans this weekend except for church this morning. I cannot remember the last time we had a wide open weekend. It has been ages. So we decided to enjoy it and use it too. We accomplished so much yesterday! We started the day with a great breakfast (I think this was one key to our operation). Then I had a list for the kids, Robert and myself. And we did almost everything I think! My list was not a good list - some little things and not some big things - so I am ignoring my list for the most part. But the linen closet is organized, the school room is 90% done (and I am not sure it is ever 100% but we will see), the pictures are hung almost everywhere. The little kids room is pretty much done and the big boys room too. We went through all the kids closets (weeded out extra and too small stuff) re-arranged the little kids room and added a radio and light. The house feels so good. There are not stray assorted boxes anywhere now (well, one in the sunroom). It feels like a home you would invite friends over to. So I think we are ready to have some friends over.

School went really well this last week. We finished Wednesday with the group stuff and that freed up Thursday to head to Mansfield for dentist, eye dr, and friend plans. Then Friday we went up to a nearby mega-church to play in their kids area, called the Tubes. They have an indoor play area that is about 4 McD's (the evil place) worth of play equipment. Want to know the best part?? I got to sit outside of the enclosed place to watch but not hear or smell them! I was also blessed to sit with a new friend for about 2 hours and learn everything about her (well as much as 2 hours will allow) and enjoy her company! He son is about a year older than my oldest and they all hit it off immediately! It was lots of fun and we plan to do it again soon!

One of our favorite things we did this weekend was meet up with the other Coles - and we went to their church Friday night for a family service. It was tons of fun! My kids keep tlaking about it and how great it was. There was some praise music, a great skit, and then the best part was throwing colored balls in to a huge bin on stage - it was mass chaos! The kids loved it! And let me tell you, Watermark knows how to make kids happy, as we left there go popcorn (many flavors) and hot cocoa! Hope they do that again soon, we are sure to be there!!

Robert is working nights this week (well 2 nights of the week anyway) so he is in the middle of trying to switch his schedule around and stay up at night and sleep during the day. The nap part is okay, but the being tired in church and during lunch is not too fun. But he is only working Monday night and Tuesday night, so I think it is a great deal for him! Then off for the weekend!

We are heading to the other Cole's for Thanksgiving dinner - can't wait! it is going to be a bit crazy with these boys, but if the weather stays nice like predicted I think we will kick them out to play for most of the time! I am sure they will be excited for supper too since they are eating beans & rice for 3 days to reflect on how so many people in our world live. Check out their blog where they talk about the next 3 days and how the kids can't wait (but mom can!).

As Thanksgiving gets closer I am just amazed at how long our list of thanks is this year. We are thankful every year, but this year we were so blessed to really see God move in our lives. Really see him. I have always known he was there - but never before did I have to let go of all I know and trust that he would take care of us. It was a very precious gift he gave us, not only our time on the road together, but the increase in our faith and love for him! I am thankful for a Savior that I know, personally and intimately this year, one whose promises are always kept and always perfect!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Its already Wednesday!!

The week seems to be flying by. I am not sure if it is because we are back to school, still organizing and still living or just because time is flying by.

Today for quiet time I did not subject myself to more boxes. 1 I am sick of boxes, 2 - there really are not many more, and 3 - I decided to spend my time in the school room copying cd's for the kids to have a "copy" in their room they can scratch up and then I can re-copy it. So while doing that I browsed the world wide web! Wow - talk about finding some good stuff.

So as I sit and copy I get to print some great stuff, copy and paste some other stuff and feel like I am equipping myself with some good stuff. I found tons of stuff on Habits today. I think 2010 is going to be a year really working on habits. In my kids, but honestly in me too. I want to have good habits for my kids to catch instead of trying to teach them with words. Does that make sense? I want them to see that I am being intentional about my time and my choices so as a result they naturally start to do the same. They may not do it all the time, but if once or twice a day they make a great choice on their own accord that would be great.

Facebook is one choice I am not sure I am being intentional about. So I am chewing on what Facebook should look like in my daily life and how much I am allowing it to influence me. I want to make good use of my time. I also want to instill some great character traits in my kids and I found a great website with some amazing character training stuff that I think will become part of our suppertime routine and family nights too. If you are looking for something similar to use in your home check THIS out. And while you are at that check out this BLOG for some great ideas, discussions and all around great info. I am feeling good habits already just from learning some of their ideas.

So time is still passing. The house is really almost there. The little kids room is pretty much done - because, really, what can you do to decorate a room for a 3 year old girl and 5 year old boy that they will both like? So I am opting for nothing. A few pics of them on the walls and that will be about it. The older boys do not have anything up either, but that is okay. The game room/sun room is about done. The schoolroom needs some IKEA help, so hopefully I will get over there for a few things to really get it organized and functional. Otherwise it is working just find each morning for school! We just need some firewood to heat up that little room while we are in there.

Thanksgiving is approaching. Yesterday I asked the older boys to sit and list out 10 things they were thankful for. They could not share or talk just write. J was done in a few minutes while P whined that he could not think of more than 2. I did not let him off the hook, and insisted he think of 8 more. I expect the next 8 to be meaningless filler. Instead he put Lizards as #3 (this was the catalyst of sorts) because then he went to Bible, God, Daddy's job, school, a backyard were a few. I was impressed that he came up with those after so much whining. It was great for them to read them last night at the table to Daddy and the little 2. It made them both realize what they have to be thankful for (J & P that is). Plus a little more handwriting never hurt anyone!

Tomorrow we head to Mansfield to the dentist for all 4 - yeah! Then to see friends. Friday, the boys are not aware of this yet, but a friend with a 12 year old HS daughter is going to meet me, while her daughter works at the zoo, to talk while the kids play at an indoor play area nearby. They are going to be thrilled and I will love visiting with a new friend!! Can't wait! Not much else going on. We are staying here for the holiday - and are looking forward to a great meal with family!

Monday, November 16, 2009

What a weekend

Wow, this was a busy weekend and most of it was not spent in our house. Even though we are determined to slow down our road trips, we ended up back in the car Saturday morning to trek up to the cabin to clean it up and restore it to "before Cole Time" for the Slagles to have a clean home to spend Thanksgiving in. We did enjoy our time there - well the kids did. While they played and explored more (not sure there is anything unexplored...) Robert and I cleaned and finished packing up.

Did I mention that this trip was after a stop at Plymouth Baptist church for a skills assessment for Basketball this winter? No? Well, we did stop there first. I told Robert we did not really need a skills assessment for the boys because they really have no basketball skills.... but oh well. Peter sure tried his hardest and was so proud of his few baskets scored, while Jacob was pretty proud too. It is going to be a great season on watching them learn this game and see if they really like it. Meanwhile we need to invest in a basketball and maybe a goal!

On the way back we splurged for lunch at Chuy's (one our favorites). Then it was a few more stops for errands - do they ever end?? Then home. It was a very productive day, the cabin was clean, basketball sign ups done, and Robert was equipped to install a water filter on the fridge and an outlet in the sun room.

But, I forgot, the best part of my weekend. Friday night I was able to sneak away to spend some time with a few friends as we celebrated my friend Linda. Linda was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. I did not know until another friend posted her Friday night plan on Facebook. We were going to get together to visit, eat and pray over Linda. Little did I know we were going to help her in her hair losing process by shaving her head. It was such a nice evening. Fun to catch up, but more fun to really encourage a dear friend. To see the peace she is experiencing while going through this process is so inspiring. I know that she is trusting God in this whole process and with herself, but man, that must be hard. So please pray for my friend Linda that God would continue to encourage her and lift her up. Thanks!

Sunday took us back to First Baptist Irving, and we even visited Sunday school - met a few home school families - and enjoyed another great service. Definitely feel like God is leading us here, but we will see.

Now another week is before us, School will start again here with our regular schedule. I am excited to get that going! The boys need to routine and I do too. We still have lots to do around the house, but each day I will tackle some task and take it one thing at a time. That is about it for us. Hope you are all well.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fresh perspective

It is amazing how a fresh perspective changes well, everything. I have been getting very bogged down in wanting to transform this house, all our stuff, and our family into this new home - and getting frustrated at the pace and the amount of work!

So yes, I whined a bit to my friend about how this is just hard. While sympathetic, she did not really join my pity party. Instead she told me she would be praying for me (what I really needed more than her attending my party)
and reminded me how we all go through this. I know that, but it does not make it feel better when you are in the midst of it. You know?

So yesterday after my little celebration I decided to get my head out of where it has been, to change my perspective. So I told Robert we were going to take the day and get out of the house and it would not be moving related (i.e. errands, getting stuff from Mansfield, etc) so I planned to take the brood to the zoo.

I did have a good night sleep, and that always helps. But you know what really helps? To not dwell in the unhappy place and to be thankful for what I have. I have great kids who have tolerated "mean mommy" for quite a while now without complaining or really acting up. They have made this transition wonderfully well. The problem really is ME. I want clean counter tops, an organized bedroom, and school daily. I do not currently have any of those. But I can see the school table (under the afternoon craft of bookmarks), my counter tops are revealing themselves more everyday (while blessing Goodwill with lots of donations) and my bedroom, well.... I am not there yet.

But a break in work, a trip to the zoo is what we needed. When I told the kids this morning to get ready to leave to do some things they automatically assumed we were trekking out to buy more rugs for the floor, toilet brushes or food (the story of our lives lately). They were not upset that we were going to spend more time in the car without toys or movies. They went right along with the flow. So when we exited off the highway at the zoo exit they started to get a little excited but did not want to make any assumptions either, so they asked if that was where we were going, and when I said yes, they were about ecstatic! They were so excited they all quickly started thanking me profusely! It was almost funny!

It was a bit chilly at first, but with no one at the zoo but us (and a few others) we did not mind the cool morning at all. We had a great visit and even enjoyed a monorail ride with tickets from our zoo membership last December! So all in all it was a great morning. We got home in time for lunch and then had about 90m minutes of quiet time (for the big boys) the little ones are still sleeping! They wore themselves out at the zoo running and running!

So a fresh perspective was so good for me and my attitude and I know it blessed the kids. While they rested I almost finished the school room, so tomorrow I think we will ease ourselves back into normal school - some math and hand writing. Then work on the house - then the weekend arrives!

Here are some pics of our most recent trip this week to the cabin - the kids were thrilled to see the dogs - they are missing them so! They checked on the tadpoles and played in the water a bit. It was a quick trip due to wasps in the house - but it was still fun to play there for an hour or so.

Today my oldest lost another tooth - second one this week - the toothfairy is going to need a second job for our family soon!!

The boys at the cabin

My oldest with the tadpoles

The cabin - it is so peaceful there!

Our favorite dogs - Chloe and Levin

Here is Chloe - she is the boy's favorite out of all of them

Here are the tadpoles - can you see them? They found them as frog eggs - what a nature lesson!

Running in the woods - like old times!!

the toothless grin - the big ones in the middle are getting bigger - good thing we lost the ones next to them!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Almost "home"

Well, things are progressing quite quickly, although not as quickly as I wish. Yes, I am impatient and do not give myself much of a break, but the results are worth it - mostly!

We have the pods unloaded, tomorrow PODS will come and pick up our last container and then we will reclaim our driveway and I am sure that will make our neighbors happy! I think there are less than 10 boxes left to be unpacked, but man we are running out of room for our "stuff" and we have taken a load in the suburban and the truck to goodwill. So we are trying to unload some of our excess!

It is hard to get rid of stuff though! I mean what if I "need" that item? What then? I will have to go buy it ... and well that costs money. But you know what, it feels wonderful to get rid of it and trust that if I need it in the future God will provide. I know that sounds trite - but I have found out it is true. I mean, I watched God provide so many things these past 7 months, from a house to food, to clothes that we needed because most of our were packed in a pod. So I know that if I need 4 or 6 more bowls I will find them. So as hard as it is to get rid of it, it is really fun to sit back and just remind God that I do trust him no matter what. No matter if we lose a job, if we sell a house and have no home, no matter what. It still amazes me to reflect over the past year and see what He has done in our lives.

Then today we tried a new church, we visited First Baptist Irving and we loved it. I am pretty sure that we will join next week, that is unless God throws a big road block in our way between now and the 11:15 service. The kids enjoyed it, they encourage a corporate worship, so the kids go to Sunday School then to church with us. I love that!! Can't wait! I really enjoyed meeting the Children's pastor too! So hopefully!

Meanwhile the school room is coming together, I cannot presently see my kitchen counters, but maybe I will this week. I made bread last week (Friday) and that sure helped it feel like home. It was great to have homemade bread - the kids were thrilled and Robert was very happy too to arrive to a home that smelled yummy to find warm bread waiting for him! We now have phone, but we are still stealing internet, not sure from who, but we are sure thankful for that too!

This week will include a trip back to Honey Grove to get the rest of our stuff from the cabin and more unpacking. Mostly we will be organizing the house, the closets and finally we will get back to school! That really is the best part! I am ready to have some part of the day to sit with the kids and just be with them. I think we all need that! They have had enough of a busy mom with many to do lists!

That is all for now, hopefully we will have more pics soon - of orderly rooms! We will see.
Happy Fall!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Settling In

Our home.....

This is the side into the backyard. The sun room is on the left (looks like grey doors)

This is the backyard - yes a little smaller than the cabin in honey grove, but the kids are enjoying the wall of bamboo in the back and are just thrilled to have bikes!

Our new home (well new to us) is coming along quickly! We have one pod emptied, a few beds to sleep on (a few still on the floor). We have a couple tables (which are much easier to use to empty boxes rather than the floor) and a couch & tv. The kitchen cabinets are filling up!
If you did not know, we are renting a home in Irving, Robert works 6 miles from here (sometimes a 10 minute drive, sometimes 25, but still not bad!). It is a 3 bedroom, but we have a good size sunroom for ALL the toys and a front room (formal living??) that will be the schoolroom. Anyway we are enjoying it! Hardwood floors and tile througout. Nice trees in the front and back, which = shade most of the day in the yard somewhere! Side walks all around too - which makes walking easier with kids!

Our final pod will arrive on Tuesday, but not sure that one will get emptied as quickly as this last one. Today our dear friend Keith saved the day by repairing our old fridge since the new-old one will not fit in the fridge spot at this house. So he replaced something and anyway, we have water in the door - a necessity with these thirsty kids! He also acted as the bike hero by delivering my 2 big boy's bikes along with a few boxes and the vaccum!! What a day!

I finally agreed to a walk to the park as well. We walked the 2 blocks to a beautiful park - water everywhere, ducks, a great playground and a walking trail 1 mile long around the park. I think we may have to make this a regular event in our week - recess!! We even made a friend for the boys and I met 2 nice adults too. Just a good little break from boxes, cleaning and unpacking!!

So now I am beat, and I still have some boxes I have not unpacked. But dinner is prepped - well the salad is made and broccoli is cleaned in cut and in a pot. So once we figure out Robert's ETA I will get some chicken cooking and we will enjoy a homecooked & healthy meal!

God is still pouring out blessings on our family. It is just fun to sit back and watch everything unfold!!


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